Monday morning, two detectives from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department came to the office and asked to speak to me. The receptionist showed them into my office.
“Ms. Palmer, could you tell us about the incident at the banquet Saturday night?”
I told them what little I knew.
“My date left the table to go to the men’s room and when he returned, he had blood on his shirt and tuxedo. He told me someone had slipped in the men’s room and he helped him.”
“Can you tell us how to get in touch with your date?”
“Certainly Detective, he’s right outside my office.”
I asked Nicholas to step into my office. The detectives were very interested in what Nicholas had to say.
“I walked into the men’s room and found a man lying face down on the floor. There was blood on the counter. It looked as if he slipped on the wet tile floor and hit his head on the counter as he fell. I turned him over to check his condition. He had blood all over his face. I wiped some of it away with paper towels and realized his nose was broken. I notified a waiter, and when the Banquet Manager came into the room, I washed my hands and returned to the table.”
The detectives had a different version.
“Mr. Amonti, the victim in the men’s room told us he was in the foyer kissing a woman and the woman’s date caught them. He said the date pulled him into the men’s room and smashed his face on the counter. The date told the victim that the woman was spoken for. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?”
Nicholas smiled at the two detectives.
“Why would I know anything about that, detective? My date was sitting at our table when I went to the men’s room.”
“It’s a shame there’s no one here to verify that,” the detective said.
Still smiling, Nicholas answered, “Detective, Ms. Sidney Alders runs these charity events. You can get her contact information from the ballroom.
I’m sure she has the names and contact information of the eight people seated at our table, all strangers to Ms. Palmer and myself. They will be able to verify Ms. Palmer was at the table the entire time.”
Turning to me the detective said, “You knew the victim and had a confrontation earlier in the evening with him, isn’t that true?”
“I’m sorry, detective, I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
“According to witnesses, you were dancing with the victim and your date came over and rather roughly pulled you away from him.”
“I didn’t realize that was the man who was hurt in the men’s room. Yes, I did dance with a man who was very crude and rude. Nicholas rescued me and finished the dance. It was nothing.”
“Right …But, you do know the man you danced with.”
“Yes, Detective, slightly. His name is Timothy…something. We met some months ago at a charity event just like Saturday night and I dated him once.”
Turning back to Nicholas, the detective asked, “What is the relationship between you two?”
“Ms. Palmer is Director of Special Projects and I am her Administrative Assistant.”
The two detectives looked at each other. Nicholas almost laughed as he told them, “Yes, Detective. I am Ms. Palmer’s secretary! There is nothing personal between us.”
“Right …And you just happened to be her date at a fancy ball?”
“Ms. Palmer received the invitation very late last week and didn’t have time to arrange for a proper escort. She was kind enough to extend an invitation to me.”
Nicholas looked at me and then back at the detectives.
“I can think of no man who would refuse such an invitation from this lady.”
The detectives said they would be in touch and left. I had to ask, “Nicholas, is there going to be trouble over this?”
“Ms. Palmer, you were sitting at the table with eight other people at the time of the incident. How can there be trouble?”
“Are you in trouble?”
“No, Ms. Palmer. The man was obviously drunk. They can’t take anything he said seriously.”
Nicholas wouldn’t say anything else about it, but I couldn’t help wonder whose version was accurate.
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